I'm not sure how great obscurantist writers in the past have managed to get away with it, but it appears to me that they tend to thrive by attracting a larger range of interpretations, not their own. In this way they get to sell more books without alienating people who would otherwise disagree with them. Once they have their following the sheep who have enjoyed their writing carry on through habituation and group think. They will have become Benjaminists, or Adornoists whose 'great' works, signify much by saying nothing at all.
We are not Walter benjamin or Theodore Adorno and cannot draw on their followers. Ordinary mortals like you and me have to stick our necks out and say what we mean, and defend it.
Here's a great example from Walter Benjamin. I saw The Woman in Black today , so was reminded of this passage because of the numerous automata in the film
His first thesis on the philosophy of history goes like this:
This is no so hard to understand though it tends to generate more questions that it answers.
It is well-known that an automaton once existed, which was so constructed that it could counter any move of a chess-player with a counter-move, and thereby assure itself of victory in the match. A puppet in Turkish attire, water-pipe in mouth, sat before the chessboard, which rested on a broad table. Through a system of mirrors, the illusion was created that this table was transparent from all sides. In truth, a hunchbacked dwarf who was a master chess-player sat inside, controlling the hands of the puppet with strings. One can envision a corresponding object to this apparatus in philosophy. The puppet called “historical materialism” is always supposed to win. It can do this with no further ado against any opponent, so long as it employs the services of theology, which as everyone knows is small and ugly and must be kept out of sight.
But what is the angel of history all about?
When I first read it, the angel I dreamed up in my head was more Jim Steinman record cover than Klee!
There is a painting by Klee called Angelus Novus. An angel is depicted there who looks as though he were about to distance himself from something which he is staring at. His eyes are opened wide, his mouth stands open and his wings are outstretched. The Angel of History must look just so. His face is turned towards the past. Where we see the appearance of a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe, which unceasingly piles rubble on top of rubble and hurls it before his feet. He would like to pause for a moment so fair [verweilen: a reference to Goethe’s Faust], to awaken the dead and to piece together what has been smashed. But a storm is blowing from Paradise, it has caught itself up in his wings and is so strong that the Angel can no longer close them. The storm drives him irresistibly into the future, to which his back is turned, while the rubble-heap before him grows sky-high. That which we call progress, is this storm.
I was so disappointed when I saw the angel.
So- though it is possible to get to the intention of the author - why not just say what he means rather than sow division?
Any takers for an interpretation?
PS- my imagination of it.
http://comicartcommunity.com/gallery/da ... -angel.jpg
Oh wait - this is more like it.